THUNDER BAY – At the May 10 City Council meeting, committee members from the local Age-Friendly Thunder Bay committee presented a strong case and successfully convinced Council members to endorse Thunder Bay to become an Age-Friendly community. As a champion of this initiative, Thunder Bay is one of the first cities in Ontario to be recognized with the Age-Friendly title, and is now well positioned to become internationally recognized as part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities. Becoming age friendly also recognizes the social and economic contribution of Thunder Bay’s older people and the growing economic opportunities of providing goods and services for our aging population.
As explained by Dr. Mary Lou Kelley, research affiliate with the Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health (CERAH), an Age-Friendly City is accessible, inclusive, and supportive of its older citizens. “Thunder Bay has many strengths, particularly in the variety of opportunities and services it offers its older population.”
Surveys indicate that many avenues exist for older citizens to stay active and involved, and to experience a high quality of life that is affordable for most. “Older adults feel respected here,” Kelley says, adding, “The city does have some challenges to address in the areas of affordable housing options, transportation, and safety and security in some neighbourhoods. Becoming more age friendly will involve promoting inclusive community values, greater access to all community resources, and access to specialized senior services.”
The committee members who put forth this recommendation to Council include 30 dedicated stakeholders from the older adult population and from local organizations, such as CERAH, which work to support older adults.
The stakeholder committee will meet with City’s senior administration to discuss next steps in reporting mechanisms.